I am sure you have noticed that there is a lot of “snark” and negativity on social media these days. It is very easy to get dragged into it. But then, every once in a while a post pops up that INSPIRES. The posts that make you SMILE and feel like you have taken a breath of fresh air. I saw one of those posts recently, and I reached out to the person who wrote it to ask if I could tell her story here. Luckily for all of us, she agreed. I think you will be as inspired as I am.
Rayna Pummel, her sister Riley, and her children Jasyn and Luelle decided to DO SOMETHING recently. They TOOK ACTION at a time when many others just stood aside thinking nothing could be done. And their action may literally save lives.
Rayna lives in Omaha, Nebraska and a video came out recently about a young girl ready to jump from a pedestrian bridge to end her life. Rayna told me, “When I saw the video of the young man (Ray’Veontae Harris) saving this girl in my own hometown I just felt urged and inspired to do something to possibly help prevent it for someone else.”
So, Rayna and Riley looked up some suicide prevention quotes, chose the ones that spoke to them, and made signs to hang around town. Some signs listed the Suicide Hotline number (800-273-8255) for people needing someone to talk to to call. They tied and taped the signs on streets signs, the pedestrian bridge where the girl had been planning to jump, and on the other side of the bridge (which is in Iowa).
Here is how Rayna explained it in the Facebook post I saw: “Yesterday evening a girl tried to jump off the pedestrian bridge in downtown Omaha to complete suicide. Luckily a young man was walking by and saw her and while everyone else walked by, he talked her down and got her to sit on a bench and hug him. This young man saved her life – but what if he had not been there? So, my sister and I, having lost our youngest sister to suicide a year and some months ago, decide to put some signs around downtown Omaha for support and awareness. We need more people like this young man, and I hope our signs help someone.”
Rayna – you and your sister ARE like that young man. You DID reach out and make a difference to strangers. Who KNOWS how many people will see those signs and be inspired to keep going? You are making a difference in the world. “All I could think was if that man was not there to save that girl, she very well could have died. Sometimes when people are to the point of choosing suicide all they need in that moment is one sign or one smile to change their mind,” Rayna told me.
She continued, “I hope people felt inspired like I did. I hope the signs were informative and I really hope those signs or someone else can save someone's life one day. I hope those signs or someone else's kindness is what helps them choose to live. This is definitely something my sisters and I plan on doing again. We want to put signs up in every part of Omaha for everyone to see. We want to spread awareness and kindness as much as we can, because in this world today we need it.” I couldn’t agree more! I hope that your story also inspires other people to make and hang signs in their own communities.
This piece is dedicated Rayna’s little sister Skylar, whose favorite saying was, “Be your own kind of Beautiful”. Skylar is forever loved and never forgotten.
If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please call the Suicide Prevention Hotline. They can be reached at 1-800-273-8255. You can also reach them online at: Suicide Prevention Website
You can see the news story about the incident, including an interview with the man who talked the woman back to safety on the pedestrian bridge, here: WOWTV News Story
#SuicideAwareness #SpreadingAwareness #EraseTheStigma